For Elisa New, teaching poetry to the uninitiated has been as gratifying as teaching English concentrators and confirmed poetry lovers.
Her Gen Ed course, “Poetry in America,” attracts students from across disciplines. Now the Powell M. Cabot Professor of American Literature wants to reach an even broader audience in a new course called “Poetry in America for Teachers: The City from Whitman to Hip Hop.” The online offering — created, in part, with a new faculty fellowship from the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning — aims to give secondary school instructors rich content and critical tools. The course, with key support from HarvardX and alumni, is a star-studded affair that includes hip-hop artist Nas reading Walt Whitman and Pritzker Prize-winning architect Frank Gehry reading Carl Sandburg.
“I really want to influence the way language arts is taught in American classrooms by providing high-quality professional development that’s very rigorous and fun,” said New, who is teaching the course through the Extension School in partnership with the Graduate School of Education.